Microsoft's Work For Pentagon Suspended As Judge Approves Amazon Appeal

Andrew Cummings
February 14, 2020

A U.S. judge on Thursday granted Inc's request for a preliminary injunction to pause the U.S. Department of Defense and Microsoft Corp from moving forward on an up-to-$10 billion cloud computing deal.

The government can't proceed with implementing the contract "until further order of the court", according to the decision by U.S Court of Federal Claims Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith.

Details of the ruling were sealed for unspecified reasons.

Amazon has maintained that it was rejected the contract, despite being the frontrunner, due to personal interference from President Donald Trump, who allegedly asked the military officials to "screw Amazon".

A USA judge granted the company's request for a preliminary injunction to pause the contract, which would fund a multi-billion-dollar cloud computing deal known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. But he said the Pentagon remained sure of its decision to choose Microsoft.

The project, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, will store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the US military to improve communications with soldiers on the battlefield and use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities.

Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the Department of Defense (DoD) was confident about its decision to award the contract to Microsoft.

Amazon, which along with its CEO Jeff Bezos has been publicly derided by President Trump, had been considered the favorite to win the government contract.

Microsoft said it hoped to prevail after the merits of the case are heard in court.

"We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft", said Frank Shaw, the company's vice president of communications. A representative for Amazon didn't respond to a request for comment. As recent as last week, an Amazon spokesperson discussed at length the company's plans to even attempt receiving a deposition from President Trump regarding his alleged involvement with the final adjudication.

The protest filed in the US Court of Federal Claims urges that the rival JEDI bids be re-evaluated.

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